A new bill announced today would crack down on landlords who use the excuse of renovations — otherwise known as renovictions — or the guise of a relative moving in as an excuse to evict a tenant and hike rent on the unit. Bell’s bill would give more rights to tenants facing evictions when they’ve done nothing wrong.
NDP MPP Jessica Bell (University—Rosedale) will table the NDP private member’s bill Protecting Renters from Illegal Evictions Act in the Ontario legislature on Monday. The bill would raise fines on landlords who illegally evict tenants, increase government enforcement of the eviction laws, and grant tenants more compensation if they are evicted.
“Toronto had an affordable housing crisis long before the pandemic, with landlords increasingly using renoviction tactics to kick existing tenants out and replace them with new tenants at a higher rent,” Bell said. “The financial struggles faced by so many residents due to COVID-19 has been compounded by Doug Ford passing legislation mid-pandemic that makes it easier for landlords to evict tenants. Both have exacerbated the city’s housing crisis.”
Data from the Landlord and Tenant Board shows that between 2015 and 2019, landlords’ requests for eviction hearings where the tenant has done nothing wrong have risen by 77 per cent.
“For years, Liberal and Conservative governments have failed to act as the cost of housing skyrocketed in our communities, and as landlords’ widespread use of renovictions pushed people out of their homes,” said NDP Tenant Rights critic Suze Morrison (Toronto Centre).
Caitlin Gowans, a student who faced a no-fault eviction from her Walmer Road apartment last year, said she and her partner were serviced an eviction notice following “years of noisy renovations, and after our landlord squeezed as much rent out of us as they could. Today, we live in a much smaller apartment for which we pay considerably more in rent per month.”